Work – What Is It?


You might not realize it, but you do work every time you lift a heavy book or carry a load up a flight of stairs. You might not feel the strain while riding a roller coaster, but if you are in the seat that reaches its peak then you must have done some work in order to overcome the force of gravity and climb out of your seat. In physics, work is defined as the increase in energy of an object caused by the application of a force over a displacement. It is expressed in the same units as energy, namely the joule (J).

The Physics Classroom notes that work can be done on an object by any force that causes it to move. This includes a horse pulling a plow, a cyclist paddling the cycle, a traveller pushing her luggage from the airport, and even your cobbler polishing shoes. However, in order for the force to do work on an object, the object must be displaced from its original position. The displacement can be either positive or negative, and the direction of the displacement determines whether the work done is positive, negative, or zero.

There are a few things that need to be taken into account when considering the amount of work done by a force. The first is that the magnitude of the force must be greater than the magnitude of the displacement in order to cause any work at all. The second is that the direction of the displacement must be in the same direction as the force in order for the work to be positive. Finally, if the direction of the force is opposite to the direction of the displacement then the work is considered negative.

In addition to the aforementioned factors, it is also necessary to consider the angle between the force and the displacement. In order for the work to be positive, it is necessary for the angle to be less than 90 degrees, and it must be in the same direction as the force. Otherwise, the work is considered to be negative.

So next time you are carrying a heavy load or getting tired from lifting the heavy books, remember that it is your muscles doing some work for you. Just be careful not to get too carried away with your work and end up burning out. Choosing projects that you love makes all the difference and can make work seem much less effortful. And remember to choose your job wisely, if you do not enjoy it then chances are it will show in the results, and may have a negative impact on your mental health. So, be smart, and find a project that you are passionate about, and don’t forget to keep on learning! The more you know, the better your life will be. Thank you for reading! Best of luck in all your endeavors. – By: Erik Gregersen, Editor-in-Chief, Encyclopedia Britannica